As we celebrate freedom this holiday weekend, we recognize that not everyone is able to live truly free lives. In the United States alone, there are an estimated 200,000 individuals currently trapped in human trafficking. As we reflect on freedom this Independence Day, we solemnly consider the freedoms that we often take for granted.
Our survivors have taught us so much about true freedom. One of our advocates, a survivor of human trafficking herself, shared some freedoms that she enjoys today that she was denied when she was trafficked.
Here are 10 freedoms that are cherished by survivors of trafficking:
1. Freedom from being viewed as property.
The basis of human trafficking is the complete ownership of and control over another person, which robs the survivor of her humanity.
2. Freedom to say “no.”
Human trafficking strips all autonomy and empowerment from the individual. It is common for every aspect of their life to be controlled by another person.
3. Freedom from the need to steal to survive.
Many traffickers take all of the money their victims have made performing sexual acts and deny their victims food, clothing, or medical care. This often forces the victims into stealing food and other essentials in order to survive.
4. Freedom to sleep peacefully.
Because of the uncertainty and trauma of trafficking, anxiety and insomnia are common among victims.
5. Freedom from homelessness.
Many victims are moved from location to location by their traffickers every few days. They do not have a “home” as we know it - they may not even know where they will sleep next.
6. Freedom from bodily shame.
Every day that a trafficking victim wakes up, she has to live in the same body that is being exploited and abused by others. This trauma can cause deep insecurity and shame.
7. Freedom from addiction.
Traffickers often force their victims to use drugs so that they are more compliant and able to work more. Breaking the grip of addiction can be a long and painful process.
8. Freedom from living in fear.
The life of trafficking is filled with uncertainty and fear – fear of people, of places, of what tomorrow may bring.
9. Freedom from darkness.
It’s no secret that the world of human trafficking is a very dark and dangerous. In recovery, survivors can find freedom from that darkness through trauma-informed interventions, creative expression, faith, and more.
10. Freedom to be who God has created them to be.
With intervention and recovery, many survivors can experience freedom to live the lives they have always envisioned for themselves – as spouses, parents, and lights of hope to those who are still in darkness.
We work tirelessly to help survivors find healing and discover these freedoms. You can help them too.
Click here to help fund the fight for freedom.